Queensland’s march towards a circular economy is set to be driven by Smart Precinct NQ, a hub for local businesses looking to integrate circular economy principles into their operations, according to an announcement made by the Environment and Science Minister Leanne Linard.
In a circular economy, the focus is on reusing, recycling, or remanufacturing materials to reduce waste generation and maximise the value of finite resources.
The Queensland Circular Economy (Industry-Research) Program, introduced by the Queensland Government, is aimed at supporting industry-driven research and innovation to shift away from the linear “take-make-waste” business model.
In particular, Smart Precinct NQ will be at the forefront of this $4 million pilot program in collaboration with other regional centres, namely the Resources Centre of Excellence in Mackay and Agribusiness Connect in Toowoomba.
According to the government, the program’s success in these regions could pave the way for its expansion to other locations.
Businesses and industries participating in each region will receive support as they transition toward a circular economy. This support will leverage the expertise of Queensland universities to develop innovative solutions.
Minister Leanne Linard stated, “The Palaszczuk Government has set the ambitious goal of Queensland being a zero-waste society by 2050. To achieve this, we have implemented a framework for our transition to a circular economy, where materials are retained in the economy for as long as possible at their highest practicable value.”
She also emphasised the importance of moving beyond traditional recycling, focusing on circular economy principles to minimise waste throughout the production and use of products.
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart noted that embracing a circular economy not only benefits the environment but also businesses, as it can create more jobs.
He urged local businesses to explore the potential of embedding circular economy principles into their operations.
Cassandra Cazzulino, CEO of Smart Precinct NQ, welcomed the government’s localised rollout of the program, which allows the region to leverage its unique strengths and environmental attributes.
“This initiative presents a real opportunity for Industry and community to collectively activate fit-for-region, innovative, circular solutions and learnings that can be deployed globally from Queensland,” Cazzulino said.
The program signifies a significant step in Queensland’s commitment to achieving a circular economy, reducing waste, and conserving precious resources.
It aligns with the broader goal of transitioning to a circular economy by 2030, a commitment shared by all Australian environment ministers.